Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Christmas 1983 at the Williamson Home. Rapid City, Dakota Territory.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
This Sunday, the Blog's Way Back Machine is set to the early 1983, Rapid City, South Dakota. It's Christmas Time and family has gathered from far and wide to celebrate the holiday at the Williamson home on 38th Street. I was home from BYU with camera in hand to record the event for posterity. And look, we have finally reached Posterity. My how the year's have flown by. I look at these pictures and still remember the voices and faces of dear ones passed.

I wish back then I had taken the time to talk to my grandparents about their lives, but when you're young, those things don't seem to matter. I hope today's members of our American Dynasty will take the time to talk to their grandparents before eternity sweeps them away. It is time spent you'll not regret.

One of my favorites of the family. Jilane is relaxing on the back of the love seat. Annette sits on Charles' lap. Luella leans her head on her husband's shoulder and Lisa rests on her mother in this Christmastime photo.

I see the back of one of our wobbly wood kitchen chairs in the photo's lower left corner. I think we put the kitchen chairs out for show. No one was foolish enough to actually sit in one.

We rarely took our meals in the kitchen and especially never in the winter. Our kitchen at 2214th street was an afterthought built onto the home by its previous owners. It wasn't well insulated and was usually only a few degrees warmer than the cold winter outside. It was heated by a small natural gas wall heater with a wonky pilot light that stubbornly refused to lite, and when you did manage to coax it into lighting (after using half a box of matches) the flame blew right out with the slightest gust of wind.

For that reason, our kitchen chairs were rarely used. And because of the constant shrinking and expanding of the wood, caused by the wild temperature extremes between summer and winter, their stability couldn't be trusted. They still looked good, deceptively so.

Grandma Violet Mattson (Luella's mother) with her youngest child Marvin in the same love seat.
Grandma Violet was a fan of turquoise jewelery (notice the bracelet).

Our love seat and couch made up our Living Room of Many Colors. The velvety fabric made for comfortable sitting. One had to be careful on the love seat. The fake planter with plastic plants was an excellent habitat for spiders. The spiders had an uncanny knack of appearing at the worst possible times (like when eating your supper in the living room).

Many of these pictures were taken on Christmas Eve's night. In this picture we shift to our living room couch. Notice the couch matched the love seat; something odd for us but normal for our visitors from the real world. In the picture above we have Grandpa Leissman (Charles' step father) and Grandma Elda (Charles' mother) visiting for the holiday from Bismarck North Dakota. As they got older they had a tendency of falling asleep during lulls in the conversation. This particular Christmas Eve I decided to abruptly wake Grandpa from his slumber......

I caught his reaction to being woken up on camera for your enjoyment. Grandpa Leissman was an engineer for the North Dakota Highway Department (notice the top button buttoned and the pen with pocket protector).

We move ahead several hours to Christmas morning. Annette (left) and Lisa are showing their Christmas morning takings.

Luella is showing her delight with her Christmas present. Who wouldn't want their very own Osterizer for Christmas? This mixer could slice and dice with the flick of a button. She's being a good sport and forcing a smile, but you can't hide your true feelings from my camera.

I think they still have that Osterizer today, never used and still in its original box. I wonder what they go for on Ebay? Although, with the rapid disappearance of their real teeth, I think having a good mixer to chew their food for them would be a blessing. I need to find this marvel, dust it off and show them how to use it.

This is Annette with her little friend Robby Weber from across the street. They are sitting on our couch of many colors. An explanation for you young people of today - the strange devices you see in their hands were called walkie talkies (the precursor to today's cell phones). Robby brought them over to show Annette. His intentions were obvious to all except Annette. Think about it. Robby at home with his walkie talkie and Annette with hers right across the street. Late night conversations at bed time. That's right Annette - I think little Robby may have had a crush on his foxy classmate living across the street.

Christmas Day with Grand Uncle Ed Vercellino, his wife Iris and Grandma Elda in the Williamson living room. Ed was Elda's youngest brother. Don't let this picture lead you into thinking we could afford a real fireplace. The one you see next to Grandma Elda was made of cardboard and brought out at Christmas time. It gave us a place to put our stockings.

The false firelight was generated by a nightlite bulb hidden behind cardboard flames. Balanced above the nightlight was a small aluminum disk with slits. The bulb heated the disk causing it to turn ever so slowly. This motion threw a dancing light against the cardboard back of the fireplace. It was cool and something we brought our friends over to enjoy every holiday season (mind you, just our friends who didn't have fireplaces of their own).

Strangely enough, I have one picture of Ashley DelGrosso in this series of Christmas photos. Proof positive Kim, JD and their kids were up for the holiday as well. Today, Ashley's youngest son is the spitting image of his mother when she was his age.

And what do we have here? Proof positive Janice, Steve and their eldest daughter Nicole were there for the holiday as well. This is Nicole. She wasn't happy. She was upset because I took her from her mother, set her on the couch and had the nerve to request a smile. Instead of the wanted smile, Nicole blessed us with screams I thought would surely alarm the neighbors. Look at those beautiful blue eyes. Nicole could charm your socks off, when she wasn't screaming.

And finally, the Williamson Wall of Records. Our Wall of Records was in the basement of our home in Rapid City. To the left of the love seat was the piano and the basement door. To get to the Wall of Records you first opened the basement door, descended two steps, turned left and walked down the narrow stairway eight steps. Our fire trap of a Utility Room was on the left just as you got to the bottom of the stairs. The Utility Room's door is seen on the left of the picture above. The Wall of Records was next to the Utility Room door.

The Williamson Wall of Records recorded our heights over the years while we lived at 2214 38th Street. The following series of pictures come from the Wall of Records. I did my best to highlight the pencil marks.

The first marks from the bottom of the wall up. 1973

Moving up the wall

Still moving up the wall.

And finally reaching the top.

I'm hoping you are all enjoying your Sunday. Did you take a moment yesterday (St. Patrick's Day) to think about our Irish ancestors. A few years ago we had no clue, but thanks to my pain staking research, we know our blood sparkles with green.

I'm feeling your love and gratitude :)